IN PHOTOS: A stellar evening with Incubus

Former child actor-turned-DJ Tom Taus was the front act. People cheered and applauded, although some of them didn’t seem completely sold on the idea of having a DJ open a rock concert. Apparently, the band itself requested that a DJ open for them.

You’d think a band that has staged 4 concerts in the country in the span of a decade wouldn’t entice as many concertgoers the 5th time around, yet the Araneta Coliseum was packed, with patrons filling most of the sections.

It was also quite fascinating to see fans from different generations – X, Y, and Z – combined.

You could feel the tension brewing as the audience waited, and personally, as someone who hasn’t seen the band perform in a long time, it was a relief to finally let the tension of anticipation go. 

At a little past 9 pm, Brandon Boyd, Michael Einziger, Chris Kilmore, Ben Kenney, and Jose Pasillas set foot on stage, eliciting screams of pent-up excitement from the crowd. Incubus opened the set with “Love In A Time Of Surveillance,” a cut from 8, the band’s latest album.

Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler
Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler
Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler

The shrieks grew louder, however, when Brandon sang the opening lines to “Warning,” a hit from the 2001 album Morning View.

“She woke in the morning,” Brandon sang in his distinct voice.

“She knew that her life had passed her by,” the audience sang in perfect unison.

Incubus sandwiched its new songs in between more recent ones. “Nimble Bastard,” another track from 8 followed; then “Anna Molly,” and “Glitterbomb.” Listening to the new songs for the first time live was a dozen times more rewarding than hearing them  on Spotify.

Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler

The first half of the set peaked when the band performed the power single “Megalomaniac.” It pretty much drove the fans crazy. People were screaming and shouting at the top of their lungs, dancing and jumping, heads banging – a mosh pit was born.

Classics and crowd favorites

Seeing them play “Wish You Were Here,” a song written by guitarist Mike Einziger, didn’t come as a surprise. It is, after all, the lead single form the band’s 4th album and is easily one of the most popular songs Incubus has ever released.

The pleasant surprise however, came in the form of a mash-up with Pink Floyd’s song of the same title. There was a moment of stunned silence when the song’s arrangement deviated from the usual, but people cheered frantically upon realizing they were hearing the chords of a famed rock classic.

Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler

Incubus played “State Of The Art,” another song from 8, before quieting down, and then, almost inconspicuously, the opening riff and turntable scratches that lead to the first line of “Pardon Me” trickled into the sound system, driving the crowd wild. Chaos! The mosh pit came alive, again.

The band sustained the momentum with “Circles” then tamed down a bit with “Echo.”

“Could you show me dear, something I've not seen/Something infinitely interesting,” sang the audience, knowing the refrain by heart.

Someone handed Brandon a Guild T-Bird guitar and the Incubus frontman played and sang along to “Pantomime.” He let go of the guitar, and the band shifted from slow to heavy with “Sick Sad Little World.”

Photo by Stephen Lavoie/Rappler

The band delivered a much-awaited performance of “Stellar,” arguably one of its most loved – not to mention romantic – songs. People sang along right from the beginning, and the singing got even more passionate as they entered the chorus, as its lyrics must have echoed how everyone felt that very moment: “How do you do it? Make me feel like I do. How do you do it? It's better than I ever knew.”

Incubus then segued into ‘70s rock band INXS’ “Need You Tonight” before playing 3 more songs from 8. Halfway through “Loneliest,” Brandon lifted the hem of his black cut-out shirt. He was half-naked by the end of the song, much to the delight of fans.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/Rappler

Not surprisingly, “Nice To Know You,” another heart-pounding crowd favorite, and ‘Drive,” Incubus’ breakthrough single, which was released 17 years ago, were part of the encore.

As in most concerts, the audience asked for more, and Incubus obliged with two songs from the Light Grenades album: “Quicksand,” and the aptly titled “A Kiss to Send Us Off” for the last song. 

Like Brandon Boyd, who looks as if he hasn’t aged save for a few lines on his face, Incubus isn't going away any time soon. If anything, after 3 decades, the band has gotten even better.

8 is clear indication of how prolific the band remains. Brandon is still the quintessential frontman and Mike – based on those killer guitar solos – is still one of the most talented guitarists around. DJ Kilmore still injects those little touches that make Incubus’ music distinct from that of other equally as established bands; while Jose and Ben continue to be examples of the ideal marriage between the drums and bass guitar.

Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/Rappler

Like the demon it is named after, Incubus has the power to command and sustain an audience. It tells us that we can expect more shows and more music in the near future, even as we hang on to the hits we’ve sung along to and listened to over the years. –